Sunday, January 30, 2005

I've been sending resumes to places that are a bit out of my reach, places that I'm pretty much a perfect match for, places I'm a little overqualified for and even some I'm extremely overqualified for. No replies yet.

Current Resume Count: 20 (est)

Enough of the whining, though. I picked up my guitar and downloaded a slew of instructional manuals. As of right now I can plan all six strings on the first twelve frets and name all the notes if I do them in order. In other words, you couldn't point to a position and ask me what note it is without me having to either step forward from the 0th fret or step back from the 12th fret, but that's ok. It's a start. My fingertips feel like hamburger. But I'm told that's normal.

I actually got a lot done today. Scanned in maybe fourteen pages of a mag I'm trying to archive. Cleared out a bunch of tests I needed to take at work with no problem. Finished watching a movie (Man On Fire) and now I'm going to ...you guessed it: send out more resumes.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

customer: I need this kind of battery.
me: We can order those for you but we don't have them in stock.
customer: Well I need it now!

At this point a little SAT-ish bubble pops up into my head.

a) "Sucks to be you, doesn't it?"
b) "How does it feel to want?"
c) [just laugh]
d) [laugh and point]

Of course, I did nothing of the sort because believe me, Princess Mononoke here isn't worth losing my job over, but hey...

On a more pleasant note, I burned a CD with G Love, Sean Paul, Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service and Scissor Sisters this morning, just so I could have something better to listen to at work. The ninth time around I was getting evil looks from the coworkers.

Right about this time, a girl comes in (very polite, soft-spoken, really friendly in a subdued sort of way), confused about a device she purchased. I'd just begun the CD again (I can play a song into the ground if I really like it), Death Cab's A Movie Script Ending kicks in, she comments that she adores this song.

I walk over to the CD player and remove the disc since at least two people will likely draw straws on who will have the honor of shoving it straight up my ass if I play it one more time. The girl comments, "You're just turned off a song I like??" with more mild shock at the perceived rudeness than true irritation. I hand her the CD and mention there are some other tracks on there she might like.

In short, I think I seriously made her day, though I explained that it was trivial to make and trivial to replace. She mentioned she couldn't download music (didn't say why, just that she couldn't). I showed her how to use the device she came in asking about and that was it. So I think I seriously made someone's day. And I live for that shit.

Today was good. Boring, but good.

Friday, January 28, 2005

I'm going to try and learn the guitar. ... Yes, again. *sigh

This is the part where I remember to remind Ella to create the "sex map."

Speaking of which, she's sleeping. And holy crap I'd take a picture of her right now if I thought I could do it without having that camera shoved straight up my ass.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Woke super late but hey, I really needed it. Too many 5-hour nights for me. I have to knock that shit off.

Cleaned the room thoroughly. Relocated one of the computers (won't need that one until actual coding starts and I need a kvm switch anyway), re-ran some wiring so I don't have to step across it every time I leave the room. Put away pretty much all my books but the currently-read ones. Consolidated my laundry and all the empty bottles. Emptied the kitty litter. Threw away the cracked fish tank. Scanned all the old prints I had kicking around. Now I'm eating veggie lasagna.

Twenty-five days of being a vegetarian with two lapses.

I'm feeling pretty damned accomplished right now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Another long night of surfing job openings and writing cover letters. A few weeks ago I sent out about a dozen emails and got no serious replies back. Then again, none of them (IIRC) were particularly good matches. Tonight, I sent out four letters. Three of them are near perfect matches. One of them was actually for the same company and position I was laid off from in 2001.

I've got nothing else to report.

Recently: G Love and Special Sauce, bagpipes, jam music, the attention whore housecats which I love so very very much, my missing daffodil plant and a new resolution to stop eating junkfood.
"Intellient Design" (ID) proponents have a plan -- more robust and influential than you think -- to introduce god into the classrooms. In some locations, they've already succeeded. Their plan is to first force schools to acknowledge that evolution is "just a theory" and then use that wedge to introduce god directly.

Don't be mistaken, the ID folks have precisely zero interest in "being honest" about science. They have an agenda.

I actually have no problem with this at all because it's true, evolution is just a theory. So is gravity, quantum mechanics and all that Newtonian stuff. "Theory" put a lander on Saturn's moon, Titan.

Art is just theory. Physical Ed and how to be healthy is just theory that will be refined ad infinitum. History is arguably most open to debate and least "truthful" from an objective standpoint. Literature is pure theory.

So I, an atheist (ok, empirical agnostic), will gladly stand with the Intelligent Design people so long as it is done consistently. Each subject should begin with the same warning. If the ID people want each class to begin with such a caveat, then every class should begin with the same caveat. If the ID people want science books to have stickers in them, then all books should have such warnings.

History is not fact, it's merely theory and a highly biased one at that. I'd sure welcome minority voices to be given some time in the class.

How to keep yourself healthy is only modern theory, not fact, and certainly subject to revision. Just ask the Atkins people. So let's start health classes, gym glasses and lunch with a warning too. All carbohydrates served at school lunch should come with a sticker indicating that significant doubts exist over whether the government's food pyramid is really the best way to go.

I don't know if they still teach "typing" classes but let's have warnings on those books too. After all, the QWERTY layout is almost certainly not the most efficient.

Computer classes should begin with a short speech about how some people (such as Richard Stallman) feel that software that is closed-source (such as Microsoft Windows) and not freely tinker-able and distributable is immoral. To some people, buying software you can't examine of like buying a car you cannot fix. Is that really a good thing for society? Well, that's' a good question that's open to theory and debate.

I'm not saying this to be sarcastic. Teachers starting their material with a "we're not entirely sure that we're correct" is a fairly leftist, radical way of approaching students that goes directly against the grain of an authoritarian system like ours.

What's ironic is that the last place in the world you'll see such a "We're not sure if this is 100% correct" warning sticker is on a Bible.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

For any people reading this that know me personally, we're fine but there are passage-clogging drifts 7' tall in places. Ella and I spent about five minutes getting through one such stretch no longer than eight feet. I basically bellyflopped unto the next section, compressed the snow and then stomped it down. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I live about 150' from the ocean so I headed down with the dog. He couldn't tolerate the wind without pressing flat to the ground. The railing itself is encased in a half-inch of ice with the leading edge facing the ocean shaped like a dull knife blade. Everything -- especially the cars -- are now aerodynamic but not from any direction that it would actually move.

It's almost like the wind got sick of fighting everything not round and decided to correct it all.

The walls of the stairwell leading down to the beach rocks are covered with a layer of clear, bubbly yellow-tinted ice sheet. Waves are crashing all the way against the back wall which isn't that remarkable, high tide does that, but the frequency and power of the waves is remarkable. We're talking hurricane strength breaks with near-whiteout visibility.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

CNN.com writes:
[Bush] received 50.8 percent of the ballots to Democrat John Kerry's 48.3 percent. Despite that narrow margin, Bush said his victory means he has the public's trust. "America's elected leaders derive their authority from the consent of the American people whom we serve," he said.

Bush didn't receive a majority vote in the 2000 election. Did he just admit that his first term wasn't legitimate?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Regarding that band I saw last night... This is what keeps going through my head.
Bill O'Reilly, sharp pundit that he is, writes:

"Amidst praise for President Bush's second inaugural address some critics are saying that Mr. Bush invoked God too much! Do they have a point?"

Yes, and I think I can explain it in a way that even the red states can comprehend.

People who talk to non-existent people, and those who rely on non-existent people for guidance, scare intelligent people.

How does that work for you, Bill? I tried to keep all words to three-sylables-or-less to help out.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

We all passed the Roor a few times around the room. Then one of them -- I think it was "Josh" -- offers me a baggie filled with about a dozen bright orange ear plugs. I looked back at Josh the same way a dog looks at your dangly bits when you've got that awkward woke-late-and-trying-to-put-on-shoes-and-gargle moment. That is to say I remember my eyebrows going up, my head tilting and thinking "why is this person handing me earplugs?" Josh's face became instantly sympathic as if to say, "Poor, poor man. He doesn't know what's about to happen..."

The ONLY way this band could fail -- and this is without any sort of hype, Jesus, ESPECIALLY without hype -- is if they wanted to.

I don't care too much for Nirvana but I do respect what they did for rock. After about ten minutes of listening to these three guys, the idea popped into my head that I was witnessing the modern equivalent of being in Seattle during the summer of 1991, Nirvana's Bleach days.

I find them comparing favorably to Radiohead. And this is Mr. National Anthem speaking.
I was wondering to myself if the last 24 hours could get any shittier but I suppose I could lose a limb.

Either this world is really fucked up or I am. Seriously considering just withdrawing from any and all personal anything because I never seem to make things better, only worse. I know that sounds extreme and I know there is some middle ground, somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

I want to sleep for a full week. My head hurts. I don't want to hear anything, I don't want to see anything, I don't want to fucking be right this moment. And perhaps what bothers me is that I know if I didn't exist, nothing would change.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I'm going to bartending school. It's a week-long course. Job placement assistance, refresher courses, etc. I wonder how hard it is to land a job as a bartender, though, with no practical experience. Well, for a 30-something guy.

I think I'm going to hit google groups and ask what the outlook is. If craigslist.org shows that every job requires five years worth of experience, I won't even bother. [update: Doesn't look good. - editor]

Taking a break from all ...uh ...recreational activities until I pull together the money to do this. I've also gone on the ramen diet. Being a vegetarian really is cheaper if you don't mind pasta and rice all the time. Thankfully, I can tolerate the former and I really like the latter.

Ella commented the other day that cleaning the room also clears the head and it's very true. So that's what I'm doing. Ripping this apartment a new asshole. Then working on the OpenHaus.us API. Then god knows what.

Recently: Swift 3D, Tokyo Plastic, The Gorillaz, Sean Paul, Sesame and Ginger rice mix, Zinn's Voices of A People's History of the United States, Britta water, a three-dollar daffodil plant and popcorn. A whole lot of popcorn.
Tonight, I had one of those "this is one of the things you'll remember the second you die" moments.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Two interesting events on this visit with my daughter.

• When discussing math protocol (specifically, whether empty spaces when doing multiplication needed to be held with zeros), Rebekah told me, "Why question facts? That's what my mom says."

I'm also told that the mother is fond of the phrase, "Because I'm the parent, that's why." I despise that statement and hopefully I'll never use it. In fact we had a talk about how if [Bek] ever disagrees with me, she still has to listen to me at that point but she is strongly encouraged to argue her point later if she feels I'm wrong.

"Because I said so" is such a bullshit copout.

• Bek and I had one of our first "real" conversations. The details of my relationship with her mom, whether or not I was mad at her mother and if I disliked her, etc. We covered a lot more material than we have in the past and ....dunno. It just went really well. I think I can finally say that she and I have some semblance of a normal relationship.

Friday, January 14, 2005

NASA TV has just reported that at least one telescope has picked up a "carrier tone" emitted from Cassini-Huygens. This means it has safely entered the atmosphere of Titan and nothing more.

This is very, very cool.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Happiness is barely making the bus, only having a $5 bill on you and the bus driver lets you get on anyway, arriving at work still slightly trashed and eating a bowl of Easy Mac. Then finding out that you're #1 in the district for extended warranty sales.

Unhappiness is forgetting your cellphone at home. But I'll survive.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

A day after I suggested that Bush give the money allocated for his innaguration ($40 million) to the tsunami victims, apparently someone with significantly more clout came up with the same idea.

Can I call 'em or what?

Clinton himself doesn't agree. "[Bush's] supporters should be able to celebrate it, however they see fit. And I don't think that it will detract one red cent from the money that we will give privately or publicly to this relief effort."

Maybe I'm doing the numbers wrong, but if they scrapped 3/4 of the events, gave that money to the victims, that'd be 30 million dollars they didn't have now.

Has the political scene become so jaded that politicians can make such obvious bullshit statements and not even be questioned? This isn't even opinion, this is math. It's thirty million dollars. If you don't spend it in one place, you can spend it somewhere else ...right?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Ok, here's a rant...

ABCNews writes:
"Each year, 90,000 shippments (by rail or by truck) of hazardious materials [sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, ammonia, and chlorine] occur in this country."

If even one of those shipments is breached in an urban area say by, oh, a 1970's-era rocked propelled grenade, 10,000 people could die in thirty minutes. One truck.

One. Maybe you knew that, I sure shit didn't. But here's the funny part!

ABCNews continues:
"The chemical and rail industries say they have stepped up security and improved the strength of tankers. Officials have discussed rerouting hazardous cargo away from major urban areas or restricting the times when they can be shipped, but it may not be cost effective."

That's a politican/businessman for you, isn't it? These "officials" have decided that humans have a price tag. I understand what they're saying, but I'd still like to know what they think one is worth. Like a real dollar amount, just ask them.

Then strap them down, zoom into their brains with super-powerful microscopes and find out what they really think. Kill all of them with the single exception of the one with the smallest discrepancy.

That one can be our leader.
A few years ago I was coming home from work and cycled past a large public fountain. It was overflowing with suds. Figure about the same surface area as your average middle-class family pool and two feet high, suds.

I figured "What the hell?" and climbed in. About a half-dozen people eventually got in and had a really good suds fight. I'm not making this up.

As I was talking to one of the guys observing, I asked if he knew how this had happened. Kind of reluctantly, after checking to make sure I wasn't a cop, he admitted:

"A year go my daughter decided to fill this fountain with five gallons of dishwashing soap as a prank. The next day she got into a car accident and died."

A guy nearby mentioned that he'd heard of the crash the father was referring to.

"So I came back this year to do it again."

True story.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I'm in one of those anything-is-possible moods.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

"This is an egg. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"
"Yeah." [30 second pause] "No."
"Wowwwww. It's like she's taking the shit for a walk."
I'm trying to figure out what kind of music "The Postal Service" represents. "Indie," they keep telling me. "It's indie." Well what the fuck is "indie?"

Last I knew/thought, "indie" meant independent, meaning not signed or on a miniscule label. But does this mean that if you move to a larger label and still play the same shit, you're not indie any more?

Next time someone asks me what kind of music something is I'm going to say "go listen to it. That's what it is."
This bit o song blurb isn't aimed at anyone. And if it is aimed at anyone, it's Jen, but waaaay more toward the "wow, what a key point in my life" sense.

smeared black ink
your palms are sweaty
and i'm barely listening
to last demands
i'm staring at the asphalt wondering
what's buried underneath where i am

where i am

wear my badge
a vinyl sticker with big block letters
adherent to my chest
tells your new friends
i am a visitor here
i am not permanent
the only thing
keeping me dry is where i am

you seem so out of context
in this gaudy apartment complex
a stranger with your door key
explaining that i am just visiting
i am finally seeing
why i was the one worth leaving
why i was the one worth leaving

     The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

Monday, January 03, 2005

A little more work done on OpenHaus. Created a temp logo, redid the layout. It's extremely temporary, just a screenshot of my psd file. Running into issues like "how do I represent a cluster of dots in one area when the user is zoomed out?," that sort of thing.

Watched Party Monster. I can't stand Macaulay Caulkin but this was exceptional in a way I can't even describe. Maybe because it's hard for me to imagine someone that seflish.

A extremely old lady (so old that doing something this stupid didn't bother me) came in today and used her credit card. I handed her the electronic pen and instructed her to click "yes" to agree to the price she was charging. She did. I turned my back. For some unknown reason she picked up a regular pen and proceeded to sign the pad. With ink. Actually managed to get a pretty good rendition of her name right on the glass, I might add. This was pretty funny.

Another woman came in and wanted to know how our DVD cleaner disc worked. I held it up, showing her the underside with the microfiber strands. "This glides across the lens and cleans it." "Oh," she replied, "I'm not technically inclined." What the fuck does a piece of thread strapped to the underside a CD have to do with technical knowledge? Why are people so bent on being proud of not knowing how digital things work?

And while I'm on it, what's with the preoccupation with asking how things work? It cleans the !@#$ing head of the DVD player. Do you buy a bike and ask how the shifter works? Ever ask the guy at the deli the gear ratio on his slicer? Have you tried bringing up the merits of RFID tags with the local supermarket checkout girl?

So why are you asking me to explain the mechanics of a DVD cleaner if you're just going to profess technical ignorance in the next breath?
The Good News
• I'm still a vegetarian.
• Ella returns.
• Just sold a cellphone.
• Purchased OpenHaus.us.
• Began OpenHaus prototype.

The Bad News
• I feel like thrice reheated ass.
• I'm at work and not sleeping.
• This Campbell's Soup-To-Go (Potato) tastes like crap.

You take the good, you take the bad, [hums the rest]

Sunday, January 02, 2005

OpenHaus (http://www.openhaus.us/) is an employee-owned, non-profit company/piece of software that allows users -- for free -- to search for apartments based upon what is important to them, and how important those features are to the searcher. Once this information has been given, a dynamic map is drawn showing locations of apartments matching the search parameters. The matching apartments appear as dots and are color coded in three shades: light green for "poor match," green for "moderately good match" and dark green for "excellent match."

A user will be able to zoom out to city-level and zoom in to a street-level view. The user will be able to define landmarks (work, school, friend's house) that are important to them and hovering your mouse over an apartment dot will show the distances to these points to appear as a pop-up. Clicking on the dot will bring up a more detailed drop-down of information.

Two symbols can appear attached to a dot.

If the dot has a @ symbol in the upper right, it indicates that someone else is interested in becoming a roommate at that location. Clicking on the @ symbol will cause a popup to appear showing you information about all interested potential roommates as well as a color tier showing how well their search needs match yours or if any known conflicts exist. For example, maybe you're bringing a small dog. One potential roommate isn't bringing any pets but doesn't want any in the apartment, either. The second interested party doesn't have any pets but doesn't mind them, either. Clicking on the potential roommate's name will open your email client to contact them directly and possibly coordinate a meet-up.

If the dot has a + symbol on it, you can click this dot to add it to your favorites. Now the dot will always appear in your search results as a blue dot even if subsequent searches exclude this location.

The goal right now is to structure OpenHaus so that employees will not make more than 1.5x that of any other employee and profit (above and beyond paying salaries and expenses) will be given to charity. Every OpenHaus employee will decide which charity will receive their slice of the profit.

In this way, we hope to encourage community-minded individuals to help bring the renting community an incredible tool.

Any criticism or ideas are greatly appreciated.